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Farhana Roshan’s journey, embodying resilience and determination, led her to the prestigious Duolingo Scholarship for global education for girls, opening doors to international education opportunities.
Farhana’s pursuit of higher education
Born into a first-generation learning family in Bangladesh, Farhana’s life was a constant struggle against the odds. Without a nationality, her family moved to Myanmar, where Farhana commenced her primary education in 2012. In 2013, violent conflicts compelled them to return to Bangladesh. Her father, a retired taekwondo master, and her mother, a homemaker with no college education, had to make tough decisions for their children’s future. Farhana, the fourth of ten siblings, faced numerous challenges in her educational path.
In pursuit of better opportunities, her family relocated to India, initially settling in Haryana. Farhana encountered obstacles due to a lack of proper documentation, losing a year in her educational journey. She remained steadfast in her desire to continue her studies.
Against these challenges, Farhana is currently a BA student at the University of British Columbia, focusing on Political Science and delving into subjects like Economics, Law, and Society. “Studying abroad has immense significance for me,” Farhana shares.
Adjusting to life in Hyderabad’s Salamah residential high school
Farhana’s early schooling, especially in the refugee camps, posed unique challenges. The family’s move to Hyderabad brought about new adjustments, including adapting to a new language and environment. In 2013, she joined Salamah Residential High School through Salamah Educational and Welfare Trust, which aids marginalized communities. Initially struggling with language barriers, Farhana eventually adapted and completed her primary education.
Securing the DET Scholarship and University applications
In 2023, Farhana’s father discovered a Facebook post about the DET Access programme by Duolingo English Test (DET) and the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR). Moreover, This program offered personalized guidance, essay mentorship, and financial aid to refugee students. Farhana successfully applied for the scholarship right before the deadline and got selected.
With the DET scholarship, Farhana applied to six universities, securing four scholarships from U.S. institutions and one from the University of British Columbia in Canada. “The process of university applications was intricate, spanning several months. I received immense support from the UNHCR and DET, including assistance with my visa application,” she explains. Post-graduation, Farhana aims to return to India with aspirations of becoming a civil servant, a dream she nurtures despite the eligibility constraints for the UPSC exam.
Advocating for education and women’s rights
Political Science, a subject deeply relevant amidst political turmoil, aligns with Farhana’s passion for community service and making a difference in the field of global education for girls. “I’ve always believed in helping those in need, a value instilled by my parents,” she says. Farhana recognizes the challenges faced by Rohingya women, especially in education, and is determined to advocate for their rights and advance global education for girls.
Since her arrival in India, Farhana has been an active child champion and youth leader with organizations like Ashoka Young Changemaker, YuWaah, UNICEF, and others. Additionally, She involves herself in various initiatives, conducting educational drives and promoting human rights and menstrual hygiene. Inspired by Malala Yousafzai, Farhana dedicates herself to advocating for girls’ education and the rights of marginalized communities.